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CORE Foods – A story about commitment and food

CORE Foods is a food-product company we admire. They make great products and they do business in a highly ethical, transparent, mission-driven fashion. We recently had the opportunity to ask Krista Lampe, co-founder and COO, a few questions about their business and products. Keep reading, I think you’ll be impressed.

 

Tell us about the mission of your company?

Krista Lampe, COO and co-founder, Core Foods

At CORE, our mission is to make food of uncompromising quality that benefits our whole world.  As a not-for-profit company we are able to separate our profits from our food.  We reinvest all our proceeds into the quality of our food, our community, and the planet.   This means customers trust us to give them honest nutritional guidance and health suggestions as well as maintain the highest quality standards for our food.  Since our owners don’t pocket the profits, it means we can be transparent and held accountable for everything we do.

I always take a CORE Food bar with me on mt. bike rides; they are uber delicious! Talk to us about how you achieve such a high quality product.

EVERYTHING is considered when we select suppliers for our ingredients. Our cost of ingredients per CORE Meal is one of the highest per ounce in the industry (more than 4x higher than typical nutrition bars).  If you price out the cost (ounce for ounce) of purchasing the same ingredients used to make a CORE Meal at your local health food store (yes, you can buy every single one of our ingredients at Whole Foods), you will find that making our product yourself costs 1.5x more than the amount we charge per CORE Meal.

1.     We look for the highest quality.   All our ingredients are 100% organic.  Our ingredients are grown on small, independent family farms.  This means less pests, less chemicals, better soil and higher quality. Since we aren’t working with big farms, our ingredients are not contaminated and don’t sit in big warehouses for a year or more before being used. This means from the time the farmer harvested it, to the time you eat it, our product and its components will never be more than a few months old. Living food is fresher and healthier.

2.     We look for companies that are pushing the envelope and making socially responsible decisions.  Suppliers like Victor Organic, the world’s first organic raisin grower, and Artisana, the leader in the charge against FDA nut pasteurization laws, are just two examples of companies that we see as leaders in high quality food and socially motivated business.  Even the “larger footprint” companies we source from (like Tera’s Whey), work with local dairies that have free range, antibiotic free, organic cows that happily graze the pastures of the mid-west. Tera’s green facility is one of the most innovative in water conservation. Our commitment to quality extends to quality testing where we test everything from the solubility of our ingredients to the gluten content.

3.     For the few ingredients that must be grown internationally, we source from domestic importers that require fair trade and ensure environmentally sustainable best practices are being followed. For example, we source our cacao only from countries that don’t allow child slave labor, and our vanilla beans from countries where vanilla farming is not effecting local ecosystem destruction.

 

We interrupt this interview to bring you a tail of two bars.
Let’s compare the ingredient list of a CORE Food bar to another bar, the Pure Protein bar. 

CORE Foods Warrior Raw Almond Raisin Bar: 100% organic whole oats, raisins, whey protein, ground spices.

In comparison to:

Pure Protein, High Protein Bar, Chewy Chocolate Chip: Glycerine, Malitol, Calcium Caseinate, Water, Hydrolized Bovine Gelatin, Whey protein isolate, Casin, Palm and Palm Kernel Oils, Milk Protein Isolate, Whey Protien Concentrate, Sorbitol, Contains 2% or less of- Milk Protein Concentrate, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Milk Mineral Concentrate, Skim Milk Powder, Yogurt Solids, Canola Oil, Malic Acid, Citric Acid, Soybean Oil, Monoglycerides, Mono- and Di-glycerides, Magnesium Oxide, Soy Lecithin, Ascorbic Acid, Copper Gluconate, Ferric Orthophosphate, di-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate, Maltodextrin, Sucralose, Tumeric Oleoresin Color, Biotin, Salt, Niacinamide, Zinc Oxide, Beta-Carotene, Calium D Pantothenate, Retinyl Palmitate, Phytonadione, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Manganese Sulfate, Riboflavin, Mixed Tocopherols, Thiamine Mononitrate, Cholecalciferol, Soy Protein Isolate, Potassium Iodine, Cyanocobalamin, Chromium Chloride, Folic Acid, Sodium Molybdate, Sodium Selenite.

 

Aside from making quality products, CORE Foods is also very busy working to make the world a better place. Your company is a Certified B Corporation. What does this mean?

B-Corporations are certified through the B-Lab, a non-profit certification and advocacy group.  B-Corps are dedicated to doing  “better business.”  As a member of the certified community, it means we meet a certain minimal threshold in our internal standards for social, environmental, and community welfare.   As a certified member, we are a leader in a movement of companies seeking true corporate responsibility and sustainability.

We took our social responsibility seriously before we became “Certified B.”  Since our founding, CORE Foods has been committed to:

  • 0% Financial Gain (all profits are reinvested in the company, community or planet)
  • Offsetting our carbon usage through carbon credits so we maintain a zero carbon footprint.
  • Paying employees living wages
  • Capping executive salaries

 

Corey Rennell. Founder, CEO, Core Foods

What is a very brief summary of the certification process?

To be certified B, companies must receive an 80 or higher on a 360 degree company review.  The review is a combination of a substantial survey that summarizes business practice and policy and a lengthy interview with B-Lab representatives.  Companies also face recertification every two years.  For most B-Corps being a B-Corp means you are willing to make sacrifices on profit in order to do things in a way that resonate with the golden rule.

 

Where can people find your products?

We’re available at most natural food stores in California, Nevada, & Arizona, and in select markets around the US.  Check out our store locator to see the full list. No store near you? We can cold ship our products anywhere in the US.

 

 

Thank you Krista for taking the time to answer our questions. Mostly, thank you for the serious commitment you’re making towards your mission. It’s rare to find a company that is so dedicated to doing the right thing every step of the way – kudos!

Follow them on Twitter here: @COREfoods

Join their Facebook page here: Facebook.com/COREfoods

Check out Corey’s blog column at the Huffington Post: Huffingtonpost.com/corey-rennell